Get your glow on with warm colours and flavours as the food mood shifts to autumn.
Super root and onion soup with curry spices
FIRST PREP YOUR VEG. Peel and finely chop 2 garlic cloves. Trim and slice 2 leeks. Chop 400g each (peeled weights) of carrots and swedes. Peel and chop 1 onion.
INTO THE PAN Melt 50g unsalted butter in a large pan over a low heat. Add the onion, leeks, carrots and swede, sprinkle over 1 tsp sea salt and fry for 30 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the vegetables colouring. Stir in the garlic, followed by 1 rounded tsp Indonesian curry powder (or curry of your choice and ½ tsp turmeric) a few minutes before the end. Add 1.1 litres vegetable stock (or chicken stock), bring to the boil and simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes. Purée the soup in batches in a blender, add a squeeze of lemon juice then taste to check the seasoning.
SERVE IT UP Ladle the soup hot into warm bowls, adding a swirl of yoghurt and a spoonful of mango chutney, if wished, and a scattering of small mint leaves.
Baked beets with fennel, garlic and thyme
PREP AND ROAST Preheat the oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 9. Scrub and trim 400g small beetroot and cut into slim wedges. Trim 300g fennel and slice into wedges. Toss the beetroot with 2½ tbsp olive oil, 1 tsp lemon thyme leaves, ½ tsp coarsely ground fennel seeds and some salt and pepper. Spread this over the base of a large roasting dish, place in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Add the fennel wedges to the roasting pan with 4 tbsp white wine, cover and continue roasting for 25 minutes more. Scatter over 3 peeled crushed garlic cloves and roast for 10 minutes more uncovered. Drizzle over 2 tsp balsamic vinegar.
FOR DOLLOPING In a small bowl combine 25g crème fraîche, 75g quark, 1-2 tsp horseradish sauce and a little salt, cover and chill until required.
SERVE IT UP This is good hot or cold. Serve with the dolloping sauce and scatter with coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley just before serving. Delicious with hot-smoked salmon or other smoked fish such as trout or mackerel.
Easy cauli dhal
FIRST PREP YOUR PULSES Rinse 150g red lentils and 150g yellow split peas in a sieve under the cold tap, place in a medium pan with 1 litre water, ½ tsp ground cumin and some salt. Bring to the boil, skim off any foam on the surface, partially cover and cook over a low heat for 1 hour until everything is tender, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking and adding a little more water as necessary.
MEANWHILE, FOR THE VEG Peel, halve and thinly slice 3 banana shallots, peel and grate 3 garlic cloves, peel and grate a 5cm piece each of fresh ginger and fresh turmeric. Have ready 350g prepped small cauliflower florets (2.5cm).
INTO THE PAN About 20 minutes before the pulses are done, heat 1 tbsp rapeseed oil in a large nonstick frying pan over medium heat and fry the shallots for 2-3 minutes until softened and starting to colour, stirring frequently. Stir in the garlic, ginger and turmeric and cook for a minute or two longer. Stir in the cauliflower, add 100ml water, cover with a tightly fitting lid and cook over a medium heat for 7-8 minutes or until the cauliflower is tender, adding an extra splash of water as necessary. Season with salt. Stir half the cauliflower mixture into the pulses.
SERVE IT UP Spoon into warm shallow bowls, with the remaining cauli spooned over, finished with a few fried curry leaves, chopped fresh coriander and lime wedges.
ADDED EXTRA If wished, you can add 150g halved cherry tomatoes to the cauliflower mixture for a couple of minutes towards the end of cooking.
Spinach and stilton mushrooms with rosemary
FIRST MAKE THE FILLING Have ready 8 flat-cap mushrooms. Peel and finely chop 1 banana shallot. Trim the mushroom stalks level with the cups, and finely slice these. Melt 25g butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat and fry the shallot and sliced mushroom stalks for a couple of minutes until softened and starting to colour. Add 400g young spinach, cover and cook for about 5 minutes until wilted, stirring halfway through. Season with salt and pepper and continue to cook with the lid off so excess liquid evaporates.
ROAST YOUR MUSHROOMS Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Splash a little olive oil over the base of a roasting dish that will hold the mushrooms in a single layer, and scatter over a few small rosemary sprigs. Place the mushroom cups in the dish, season them generously and divide about 100g crème fraîche among them (about 1 tsp each). Coarsely chop the spinach in the pan, fold in 100g diced stilton or roquefort (without rind), and divide the mixture among the mushrooms. Pull off and scatter over a few rosemary needles, drizzle over a little more oil and bake for 25-30 minutes until sizzling.
SERVE THEM UP Scatter over some extra small spinach leaves, if wished. These are good with a salad of watercress or on rustic buttered toast. Also as a side for steak.
Roast vegetable tikka
FIRST MAKE THE TIKKA SAUCE Peel and finely chop 2 banana shallots. Peel and grate 3 cloves garlic and 1 x 5cm piece each of fresh ginger and fresh turmeric root. Heat 1 tbsp vegetable oil in a medium nonstick frying pan over a medium heat and fry the shallots for a few minutes until softened and starting to colour, stirring occasionally. Add the garlic, ginger and fresh turmeric and cook for a minute or so longer. Stir in ½ tsp ground turmeric and 1 rounded tsp garam masala and cook briefly. Stir in 200ml coconut milk and the juice of ½ lemon, season with salt and heat through, without boiling. Whiz to a sauce in a food processor, then set aside to cool.
PREP YOUR VEG You can slice your selection of vegetables or leave them whole if small (as a guide, we used 400g each of baby carrots and courgettes, 300g baby aubergines cut in half, and 1 red onion cut into wedges). Preheat the oven to 240C/220C fan/gas 9. Add the vegetables to the tikka sauce and toss to thoroughly coat them. Spread the vegetables over the base of a large roasting pan and roast for 40 minutes until golden, stirring halfway through. Finish with a scattering of chopped fresh coriander.
SERVE IT UP This makes a lovely veggie dish with warm naan breads or poppadoms, a dollop of yoghurt or tzatziki and a serving of dhal. It is also good alongside roast or pan-fried chicken.
No-fuss tarte tatin
GET SET Select an ovenproof frying pan with a base measuring about 20cm across (for example a 23cm pan) or equivalent ovenproof tin. Have ready 1 x 320g packet chilled ready-rolled all-butter sweet shortcrust pastry (or equivalent) and some flour for rolling. Preheat the oven to 200C/ 180C fan/gas 6.
FOR THE CARAMELLY APPLES Place 100g dark muscovado sugar, 100g unsalted butter and 1 tbsp calvados or brandy in a small pan, bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes to give a rich pouring sauce. Meanwhile, peel, quarter and core 750g eating apples and place in a large bowl. Pour over the sauce and stir well to coat. Tip the apples into the frying pan and arrange curved-side down in an overlapping single layer.
FOR THE CRUST On a floured work surface, roll out the pastry a little, as necessary to cover the apples with about a 1.5cm rim to spare. Lay the pastry over the apples in the pan, trim to neaten and allow a 1cm rim, then tuck this over and just under snugly to hold the fruit.
BAKE AND SERVE Bake for 25-30 minutes or until the pastry is an even light gold. Remove and run a knife around the edge. Leave to cool for 30 minutes, then place a plate on top on the tarte and invert it, taking care as you do so as there will be lots of sticky sauce. Serve straightaway with ice cream.
Bite-size spelt brownies
MAKES 1 x 23CM TRAY
PREP YOUR TIN Preheat the oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3. Butter a 23cm brownie tin (or equivalent) and line the base and sides with baking paper, snipping the corners so the sides sit flat.
GET YOUR DRY INGREDIENTS Sift 25g cocoa powder and 1 rounded tsp baking powder into a large bowl, and stir in 100g spelt flour (plain or wholemeal), 100g ground almonds and 100g demerara sugar.
MELT AND MIX Break up 200g dark chocolate and gently melt this with 150g unsalted butter in a large bowl set over a pan containing a little simmering water, stirring in 1 tsp vanilla extract and 2 tbsp dark rum (optional). At the same time, whisk 4 medium eggs and 100g icing sugar in a large bowl using an electric whisk for 4-5 minutes until very pale and moussey, and several times the volume. Lightly fold the chocolate mixture into the eggs in two goes, taking care not to overwork it. Now fold in the dry ingredients in two goes.
INTO THE OVEN Transfer the mixture to the prepared tin, smoothing the surface, and bake for 30-40 minutes until a skewer inserted at the centre emerges with a sticky crumb or two, but without being wet. Leave to cool.
CHILL AND SLICE Loosely cover and chill for at least half a day, preferably overnight. Remove from the tin and peel off the baking paper. Liberally dust with icing sugar and a little cocoa, before cutting into 3cm-4cm squares or to your liking.
Recipes by Annie Bell. Food styling by Clare Lewis. Styling by Sue Radcliffe.